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Concussion. We’ve all heard about it, but do we take it seriously enough? If you care about anyone that rides BMX, read this story… 

Have you ever heard someone describe a concussion as ‘just a concussion’ or ‘only a concussion’?

It’s a common assessment or description for a bump on the head following a crash in BMX. Neck’s ok? Great. No broken bones sticking out or blood everywhere? Awesome. It’s just a concussion.

Just a concussion?

No!

Let’s change the way we view this. Let’s look after each other.

It’s a brain injury. It’s about as serious as things can get, without being in a life threatening medical situation.

Sports Medicine Australia describe concussion as:

A brain injury and is defined as a complex physiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. Concussion may be caused by either a direct or indirect blow to the head, face, neck or body causing an impulsive force transmitted to the head.

That sound’s serious, because it is.

Now see how Concussion in Sport Australia, the initiative of the Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Medical Association, Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians and Sports Medicine Australia, describes it.

Concussion is a traumatic brain injury, induced by biomechanical forces to the head, or anywhere on the body which transmits an impulsive force to the head.

It causes short-lived neurological impairment and the symptoms may evolve over the hours or days following the injury.

Evidence from animal and functional imaging studies points towards a series of interrelated biochemical and physiological changes that impair neuronal function.

The symptoms should resolve without medical intervention. Rest, followed by gradual return to activity, is the main treatment.

Again, sound’s serious, because it is. So, let’s change the way we view this.

Let’s no longer describe a concussion as ‘just a concussion’ or ‘only a concussion’. Let’s treat a concussion as a brain injury that requires a monitored recovery period away from physical activity. Away from the bike! No race is worth further damage to our brains.

This article is not designed to scare anybody that has previously been concussed. It’s not supposed to stop you getting on your bike and taking to the track, even if you haven’t been concussed.

The purpose of this story is to implore riders, parents and officials to take concussion seriously. It’s not just a concussion. What it is, in simple terms, is a brain injury.

If you’d like to know more, there’s lots and lots of information in the Concussion in Sport Australia Position Statement that can be found here.

BMX Australia adopted a Concussion Policy in 2017 and it should be strictly adhered to by all members. It can be found here.

Let’s change the way we view this. Look after each other!